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How can I hide the light under a bushel?
May 7, 2008 11:39 AM   Subscribe

I have a motherboard in my PC, with 3 extremely bright blue LED lights. I can't disable them, because they show whether or not there is a problem with the CPU, RAM, etc. Would putting something like Blutack over them damage them?

As far as I can tell, it's inert and nonconductive, but I'm concerned about the amount of heat that the LED gives out. I don't want to physically remove them, because they do perform a useful function. I just want to cover them up and stop them lighting up the room at night while I'm trying to sleep (yes, they are that bright).

So, would Blutack do the job? Or is there something more suitable that I could use?
posted by Don-da-lah to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You'll be fine.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:49 AM on May 7, 2008


The LED isn't a big heat generator, it's the processor heat cooking the tack/putty/gum into something sticky that I'd worry about (for cleaning off later, not any safety risk). I'd make little cone hats out of electrical tape instead.
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:51 AM on May 7, 2008


Are you putting the blutack on the case bezel, or directly onto the LED components themselves? If the later, consider using something like a sharpie pen - this will simply dim the LEDs, so you won't have to remove and replace blutack all the time. OTOH, there will still be some light in your room.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:00 PM on May 7, 2008


Electrical tape is the way to go. It's definitely nonconductive (as opposed to "as far as I can tell" nonconductive - you're probably right, but who knows?) Also, it's easy to remove and won't turn into a gunky mess or slide off the LEDs over time. I've electrical taped many a bedroom LED before.
posted by pocams at 12:12 PM on May 7, 2008


I've tried bits of cardboard, ducktaped on. It just shines through the tape. The same for electrical tape. I've tried the permanent marker trick, and it doesn't seem to make any difference.

I figured I could keep the bluetack to a small area, so anything that needs to give off heat still can do (cardboard+heat=fire?), and it's mouldable to cover the LED enough, and it's dense enough to block the light.
posted by Don-da-lah at 12:15 PM on May 7, 2008


What about something like a piece of theatrical lighting gel plastic? If you get a dark enough color it should dim the LED's output enough to make it manageable.

Along those lines maybe something like an old camera filter could also work.
posted by asterisk at 12:34 PM on May 7, 2008


Shines through electrical tape (!) or just out from under it? The stuff is opaque so I'm guessing you've got leaks (or perhaps the wrong ele. tape). Feel free to put a bottlecap-sized or bigger wad of tape over that section of circuitry if light is still leaking out. No cardboard. Just paper mache the mobo with tape.
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:05 PM on May 7, 2008


Through. I figured the same thing, until I took the lid off the case, turned off the light, and had a good look. It could be a cheap brand of tape I have, I'm not sure.
posted by Don-da-lah at 1:07 PM on May 7, 2008


Huh. How about the cap to a cheap pen? Then use lots of tape. Tape tape tape.
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:31 PM on May 7, 2008


I had this problem. I covered the hole on the front of the PC case that the LEDs were shining through with Sharpie-blacked cardboard, taped on with Scotch tape. That solved the problem for me.

Can't you do something similar, blocking the specific hole that the light from inside the case is shining out through, rather than applying something directly to the LEDs themselves?
posted by limeonaire at 2:25 PM on May 7, 2008


If you're concerned about them being a light source when you're trying to sleep, won't turning off the computer fix your problem?
posted by Lucie at 3:16 PM on May 7, 2008


If you're putting it on the outside, you could use the blackout solution used by crooks and home-growers worldwide: aluminium foil.
(Of course if the cops see it they might think you're using the tower case as a mini-meth lab).
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:46 PM on May 7, 2008


No reason to worry about LEDs overheading. As cowbellemoo said, they give off practically no heat. And you're only covering the exposed part anyway.

Me? I'd get a paint pen, not a sharpie. That should do the trick. This page seems to back me up on that.
posted by O9scar at 7:32 PM on May 7, 2008


Can't you do something similar, blocking the specific hole that the light from inside the case is shining out through, rather than applying something directly to the LEDs themselves?

It' the exhaust hole for the fan, as well as a couple of other air grilles.

If you're concerned about them being a light source when you're trying to sleep, won't turning off the computer fix your problem?

Well, it'll stop the light from shining, but it will just create another problem when whatever I need the computer on for stops working.
posted by Don-da-lah at 1:57 AM on May 8, 2008


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